The Hold is an ensemble that crosses both musical and international boundaries.

The band is comprised of 4 musicians who originally met in Melbourne, Australia, while studying jazz and improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts. Since then, they have diverged to diverse musical and geographical frontiers, but are brought together every year to collaborate as The Hold.

With a lineup of piano, guitar + effects, trombone, and vocals + live looping and effects, the group interacts in an intimate and dynamic way. Their exploration of genre, timbre and improvisation in both original and standard repertoire is something truly special to experience.

The Hold toured Japan for the first time in 2015, selling out shows in Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji and Nagoya. Following such a successful first visit, the band is set to tour Japan again in May, 2016.





Nathan Liow

Nathan Liow is an award winning pianist, composer and producer based in Melbourne. He recently premiered his new improvised work, Artifacts, as a part of Next Wave Festival, in remote-collaboration with Brooklyn-based composer and electronic artist Angus Tarnawsky.

His compositions are featured on a diverse array of projects including original soundtrack for the feature-length film “Play It Safe” (developed alongside Australian MC and lyricist Mantra), award-winning film “Burrow” by Melbournian film maker Natalie James, TVCs and digital media projects.

Participating in the prestigious Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in 2014 afforded Liow the opportunity to study under the mentorship of New York pianist and composer Vijay Iyer. Liow is also an alumnus of New York School for Improvised Music, and a multiple scholarship recipient during his time studying at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.

He has performed in New York City, Shanghai, Canada, Japan and throughout Melbourne at venues such as Bennett’s Lane, Melbourne Recital Centre, Paris Cat, Hamer Hall and Federation Square.

Liow has receieved high praise from Australian jazz luminaries including Tony Gould, Simon Barker and Paul Grabowsky. His music has been featured on ABC Radio, Triple J, RRR, PBS and 3MBS.

Diego Villalta

Diego Villalta is a Melbourne-based guitarist, composer, band leader and session musician. He attended the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne University), studying a Bachelor of Music Performance and graduating with Honours in 2010.

His unique style has kept him in high demand since the completion of his studies, performing hundreds of shows a year both in his home town as well as interstate and abroad. Highlights include international shows in Japan, Spain, Indonesia and Thailand, as well as a large number of Australian festivals including Woodford Folk Festival, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Falls Festival, Big Sound, Rainbow Serpent, Wide Open Space and many more.

Diego plays in various ensembles with music spanning jazz, hip-hop, pop, Latin, avant garde and more. He has appeared on numerous recordings including Tierra, Pataphysics (EMI) and Lo Res, gaining national and local airplay on radio stations such Triple J, PBS, ABC Radio, 4ZZZ and 3RPC.

Video appearances include Channel 10, Balcony TV. Awards include an Artist in Residence at FCAC, 2012 Very West winner, a performance from Arts Victoria, as well as various European awards for his work on Spam the Musical.

Current projects that Diego is leading or highly involved with include the ensembles Tierra, Little Turtle Floods, Lo-Res, and The Hold, as well as Hip-hop act Pataphysics.

Tim Morcom

Victorian College of the Arts graduate Tim Morcom has cut his teeth playing various styles of music throughout the years. His versatility has made him a much sought after trombone player both in his original home country of Australia as well as his new permanent home as of 5 years ago, Japan.

After completing his studies, Tim experimented in many different musical and artistic settings, from large ensembles to simple solo and duo works. Featured on many recordings, Tim has also appeared on national radio and has performed for audiences from small cozy venues to large festival sides ones.

Listing his influences as Yo Yo Ma, and the New Orleans based saxophonist, Skerik, Tim’s sound is a departure from the usual lead horn sound. With more attention paid to tone and texture, Tim has a more personal, intimate approach to his playing. Working as well as a support player as he does a feature, Tim has been an invaluable addition to many formidable ensembles.

After his move to Japan, Tim has very much immersed himself in the culture. As well as gaining a significant handle on the language itself, Tim has made many connections with local musicians and artists.

A welcome guest to many stages, especially in the Kansai area, Tim has made place for himself as a versatile addition to the Japanese music scene.

Tom Barton

Tom sings both lyrics and wordless music, characterised by contemporary jazz improvisation, extended vocal techniques and live electronic looping and effects processing.

Tom graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours) in Jazz Improvisation in 2010. In 2013 he was accepted to study a Master of Jazz (Voice) at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Some of Tom’s performance highlights include singing at The Melbourne International Jazz Festival, The Sydney Opera House, Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club and live on ABC Radio National’s The Music Show.

Tom has studied with mentor, leading vocalist & composer Theo Bleckmann in the United States on several occasions, as well as vocalist, pianist & composer Peter Eldridge.

Tom’s debut album, Aspirations, was released in July 2014. Over $9000 of funding for the album was raised by fans through crowdfunding platform, Pozible. Aspirations received critical acclaim, including a 4.5 star review in The Weekend Australian heralding the album as “a breakthrough in leading-edge jazz vocals”, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Jazz Bell Awards Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album.

Tom has worked and recorded with artists including Barney McAll, Andy Sugg, Stephen Magnusson, Philip Rex, Gian Slater & Invenio, David Shea, Fran Swinn, Georgie Darvidis, composer Byron Scullin, and composer Andrew Byrne.